Novartis is a huge and extremely wealthy pharmaceutical company that is based in Switzerland, in Europe. It is ranked the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world in terms of sales. In 2010, it sold US$ 47 billion (US dollars) worth of medicines.
The company is suing India for not giving a patent on its medicine Gleevec. Gleevec is a medicine used to treat cancer. India refused to grant a patent on Gleevec because it is a new form of an old medicine and the change to the old medicine is not innovative or new.
Because India refused to grant a patent on Gleevec, the company applying for the patent (Novartis) is suing them. This court case has been going on for years. Each time Novartis looses the case they appeal the ruling, taking it to higher and higher courts. It is now being heard in the Supreme court. It is costing the Indian government a huge amount of money to fight back against Novartis.
Activists attending the People’s Health Assembly in Cape Town were fighting back. The rally to parliament was led by MSF, Treatment Action Campaign, Section27, and the People’s Health Movement on Wednesday, July 11 in Cape Town to say “NO” to Novartis.
Viva TAC Khayelitsha Viva!